Big-Little Boulder Loop Overnight?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Big-Little Boulder Loop Overnight?

    Hey all, I'm putting together an overnight bikepack in mid-late spring, and would love to ride in the White Clouds if it's still legal-(ish). I have backpacked the big White Cloud Loop, but didn't get a chance to make it to the Boulder Chain Lakes that trip. Would it be doable to do this route: https://www.mtbproject.com/trail/700...e-boulder-loop
    But find a way to camp overnight at Hatchet Lake or even possibly Shelf, Sherlock or Lodgepole Lake?
    Would greatly appreciate some beta and advice, since I've only set boots in this area, no tires yet.
    "There's nothing like touching earth you've never touched"

  2. #2
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    I haven't ridden there, so can't speak to that part, but camping at Hatchet is eminently doable. Your timing is probably ideal, since it can be a popular spot. If you could find a way up to an upper lake, you'll definitely find fewer people. I don't recall exactly the quality as you go higher, but it strikes me that all of those lakes have at least one or two spots for a tent.

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    Are you aware the chain lakes our within the wilderness boundary now? Ok to camp there, just don't get in a jam by having your bike in there...

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    Quote Originally Posted by pdlhrd View Post
    Are you aware the chain lakes our within the wilderness boundary now? Ok to camp there, just don't get in a jam by having your bike in there...
    The lakes themselves are, but the trail *I believe* follows the boundary. So, camping at the lakes should be fine, as long as you find a place to stash your bike outside the boundary. I've seen folks do similar things with motos.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BeDrinkable View Post
    The lakes themselves are, but the trail *I believe* follows the boundary. So, camping at the lakes should be fine, as long as you find a place to stash your bike outside the boundary. I've seen folks do similar things with motos.
    Awesome. That's exactly what I was wondering.
    "There's nothing like touching earth you've never touched"

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    Yeah That's what I was foggy on. Thanks!
    "There's nothing like touching earth you've never touched"

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    Any suggestions on a fully legal 2 night bike pack trip in the area or similar environment? I chose this based on having been to the Boulder Chain lakes on foot. Would love to hit some lakes and fish while we're out there as well as some great riding.
    "There's nothing like touching earth you've never touched"

  8. #8
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    Just camp at Frog lake, then hike into the Chain lakes. The Big Boulder/Little Boulder trail IS the wilderness boundary. In that section, west of the trail is Wilderness, east of the trail is open. Check it here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE...eprd497627.pdf

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    How sketchy would it be to leave our bikes stashed somewhere for a night or two? I know there's not a ton of people out there, but I would probably feel a bit nervous leaving them.
    "There's nothing like touching earth you've never touched"

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    mid to late spring the trip might be on snowshoes or skis.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by tim208 View Post
    mid to late spring the trip might be on snowshoes or skis.
    Not after this winter!
    "There's nothing like touching earth you've never touched"

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    If you don't get any bites, you could try posting in the bike-packing forum. I don't do it enough to have suggestions, but there's always the Casino Lakes which are outside the wilderness and I've ridden in the Northern Sawtooths (Marten Lake), which might have possibilities.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BeDrinkable View Post
    If you don't get any bites, you could try posting in the bike-packing forum. I don't do it enough to have suggestions, but there's always the Casino Lakes which are outside the wilderness and I've ridden in the Northern Sawtooths (Marten Lake), which might have possibilities.
    I'll check those out! Pics look great, and its the same alpine type riding we're hoping to do. Have you done any lops out there that you can recommend?
    "There's nothing like touching earth you've never touched"

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    I've never ridden Casino Lakes, so I can't say anything about it, but I can recommend doing Trap Creek to Marten Lake and down Swamp Creek. A few things to keep in mind - if you couldn't guess from the name, you'll pass through some boggy areas so these I would not recommend until later in the season. Otherwise you'll be knee deep in mud. Trap Creek to Marten Lake might make a decent overnighter, (Trap Creek is less boggy than Swamp Creek so would be an out and back if done earlier in the year). Also, if you do the loop you will be riding back to the trailhead along the HWY. I don't love riding on that road, but YMMV.

    Of course, there's always the Elk Mountain Loop. Not really anywhere to bikepack along there, but it's a nice ride.
    Elk Mountain Loop : Mountain Biking : MBPost
    Last edited by BeDrinkable; 02-13-2018 at 11:42 AM. Reason: add info

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    Have you done the Big Bowery Loop (Grand Prize/Germania)? It is also outside the wilderness, again following the perimeter. It does not have all the lakes and such like the middle of the White Clouds but it is serious high elevation backcountry riding.

    I did it as an S24O a few years ago- started Friday afternoon at Pole Creek road, up and over Grand Prize and down to the Guard Station. Camped there (on the porch) and soaked in the (hot spring) tub. Returned via Germania on Saturday AM. For a fairly new rider Germania was a real challenge with the loaded bike. Nevertheless we were easily back to Ketchum and cleaned up in time for dinner.

    It occurs to me if you wanted a fairly epic ride you could tack the Frog loop into the Bowery loop. Start at Pole Creek Rd then you don't have to drive all the way around to the backside. Grand Prize -> Bowery -> Big Boulder -> Little Boulder -> Germania, using East Fork Rd. as the connection.

    Easy camping available at Bowery, along East Fork near the end of Little Boulder, Livingston Mill and at Frog lake. Or stash your bike and hike into a wilderness lake. It is forested up there so should not be difficult to hide (the bike). I highly doubt anyone would bother it anyway, especially if you tether it with a light cable & lock.

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